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Doctors give advice on treatment for cold, flu, allergies

 

It's October and leaves are starting to turn, there's a nip to the air some mornings and, all of a sudden, a scratchy feeling in your throat. And then there's the sneezing, the coughing or maybe a minor headache. Are you getting sick with a cold — or even the flu — or is it just allergies?

Fall allergy season, and cold and flu season overlap in early autumn, a triple threat to your sinus passages, but proper prevention and treatment will vary depending on what is causing that congestion. Fortunately, there are some guidelines for determining just what you're dealing with: The Times caught up with Dr. Hava Ladinsky, an allergy/immunologist with the Maryland Asthma and Allergy Center in Westminster, and Dr. Wendy Miller, a primary care physician with the Carroll Health Group in Eldersburg, to discuss the fall allergy/cold/flu season and what people need to know to keep themselves healthy.


Q: There's often a lot of focus on allergies in the spring and early summer when there is a lot of plant pollen in the air. What causes fall allergies? What's the normal duration of the fall allergy season? The fall allergy season typically runs from August to mid-October/November and peaks mid-September. Ragweed pollen is one of the top triggers for fall allergy symptoms. Other weed pollens also bloom this time of year. Another big trigger is mold, which grows well among rotting leaves. Raking leaves and mowing the lawn can both increase mold and pollen in the air. Some children will note increased allergy symptoms when they return to school due to dust mite allergies.

Q: What about symptoms? Is there anything unique about fall allergies or do they present for most people just like spring allergies? Like spring allergies, fall allergies may present with sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, and post-nasal drip. Some people also complain of itchy, red, watery, and swollen eyes. Worsening nasal symptoms may lead to coughing and trigger asthma symptoms. In some patients, ragweed allergies may also trigger oral allergy syndrome (OAS), where the body's immune system becomes confused and triggers an allergic response. The proteins in some fruits and vegetables are similar to the proteins in certain pollens. When a person ingests raw fruit or vegetables, OAS may lead to an itchy mouth and throat or swollen lips, tongue, or throat. Very rarely does OAS lead to severe, life-threatening allergic reactions. People with ragweed allergy may be symptomatic when they eat melons, banana, cucumber, and zucchini. Cooking the fruit or vegetable often reduces or alleviates OAS symptoms. Birch trees are another important trigger of OAS, however, they bloom in the spring and are associated with different fruits and vegetables.

Q: Is there any connection between whether or not you suffer from allergies in the spring and dealing with fall allergies. Not everyone suffers from both spring and fall allergies. However, it is not unusual for patients who suffer from spring allergies to also suffer from fall allergies. Allergies, including seasonal and food allergies, may occur at any age. Adult onset allergies typically begin in a person's 20s or 30s but may develop even later. It is not clear what causes a person to react to allergens in their environment they had previously tolerated. However, family history plays an important role in allergies. A change in environmental exposures may trigger a person's predisposition to allergies and allergic reactions. Or a person may be exposed to a large enough quantity of allergen that they reach a threshold that triggers a reaction.

Q: What are the recommended treatments for fall allergies? Is there a spectrum of care based on how severe a person's allergies are? In addition to medical management of fall allergies, patients may also introduce environmental precautions to reduce allergy symptoms. This includes keeping the windows closed and running the air conditioning. It is also important to regularly change or clean the filters. Staying inside from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when pollen counts are highest, may reduce symptoms. Consider changing clothes and showering after spending time outside. Some patients benefit from wearing filter masks when mowing the lawn and raking leaves.

Q: Cold and flu season is also almost upon us. Are there any rules of thumb you could pass on for determining whether or not symptoms are a cold or just allergies? Is that even an important distinction to make? This distinction is important, as the treatment is different for allergies and viral illnesses. Fall allergy symptoms typically occur all at once with clear, thin, watery nasal discharge and no fever. Symptoms continue as long as the person is exposed to the allergen. A cold begins one to three days after exposure to a virus and symptoms typically occur sequentially. Viral illness symptoms include watery or thick, yellow mucus drainage, body aches, and low grade fevers. Symptoms typically last seven to 10 days.

Dr. Miller: Cold and Flu Q: What is cold and flu season? An annually recurring time period when we see outbreaks of the cold and flu. The season is typically during the cold half of the year, in this area, beginning in October.

Q: What's the difference between the cold and the flu? They are both viral infections right? Yes, the common cold and flu are caused by a virus that is spread by airborne droplets or contact. Flu is caused by the influenza virus and the common cold is caused by one of many viruses, most likely the rhinovirus.

Q: Sometimes people are not sure if the beginnings of cold-like symptoms are a cold or just allergies. What about the common cold and the flu — how do you distinguish one from the other? Unfortunately both can cause coughing, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, body aches and a fever lasting seven to 15 days. The only way to be sure is to get a flu test.

Q: What about treatments? We all know there is no cure for the common cold, but there are all kinds of supplements and fizzy drinks and folk cures that claim to boost your immune system and shorten the length of a cold. Do any of these, such as extra vitamin C or Zinc, actually help? Is boosting your immune response even something you want to do when it comes to cold? True, there is no cure for the cold. Treatments are aimed at relieving the symptoms. Boosting your immune system is only helpful if you have a weakened immune system to begin with.

Q: What about the flu? It's a more serious infection. What should people do to avoid it, and what happens if they fail to avoid it? How can they mitigate the severity and length of their illness? Flu can be a more serious infection. Often with high fever and sudden onset of extreme fatigue. Flu can lead to pneumonia and even death. An annual flu shot is indicated above age 6 months. Hand washing is the best protection, avoid contact with people that have symptoms and get tested for the flu if you develop symptoms. Those that test positive can be treated with antiviral medication. This medication needs to be started within 48 to 72 hours of onset of symptoms.

Q: Some people get their flu shot religiously, others swear it's not worth it. Can you address some of the myths about the flu shot and give a clear case as to who should get it, when and why? Each year the flu virus changes and the flu shot is redesigned each year. The shot contains inactivated virus antigens, not the live virus itself, and it cannot give you the flu. Very few people have mild side effects from the shot. The risk of getting the flu outweighs the risk of side effects from the vaccine. This is especially true for the elderly —over 65 years old — and those with other chronic illness. Getting the flu shot in early October is the best protection.


*Read the original article on at CarrolCountyTimes.com.

Cozy Into Fall With Pumpkin Spice Granola

It’s time. It’s time for pumpkin, scarves, boots, not sweating when you get in your car, and the best holidays. Before we jump into an ode-to-fall, let us set your mind at ease with a fantastic recipe for paleo pumpkin spice granola via our friend Cassy from Fed & Fit! They’re chewy, perfectly seasoned, not overly pumpkin-ed goodness. Great for lunches, hiking, sharing with colleagues, or for eating the entire batch standing up in your kitchen before you even get a chance to wrap one up.

Granola is an extremely popular breakfast and snack food with a wealth of health benefits, including its ability to lower cholesterol, regulate digestion, aid in weight loss attempts, improve your heart health, increase energy, prevent anemia and promote proper organ function. Intake of granola also helps to lower blood pressure, increase cognitive activity, improve skin quality, build stronger bones, manage diabetes, stimulate new tissue and hormonal growth, and even prevent cancer.

As a digestive aid, granola is almost unmatched. It is commonly consumed by people who want a boost in their fiber content, because granola contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. Dietary fiber is a beneficial part of anyone’s eating habits because it regulates digestion of food. It adds bulk and weight to bowel movements, making them more solid and easier to pass along the digestive tract. It also stimulates peristaltic motion, which is when the smooth muscles in the intestinal system contract, thereby moving food further along, while also causing the release of gastric and digestive juices, relieving stress on the entire system. Soluble fiber is good for alleviating symptoms of constipation, which can lead to a bevy of health issues, including colorectal cancer, indigestion, heartburn, and excess flatulence. The insoluble fiber can harden up loose stools and reduce the occurrence of diarrhea. Furthermore, fiber can improve heart health by literally scraping the arteries clean of dangerous LDL cholesterol or omega-6 fatty acids that can lead to heart conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. Need we say more? Try this recipe below!



Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree {canned works great}
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup whole brown flax seeds
  • 1 cup golden berries, roughly chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 F and line a 9 x 13 inch metal cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a small saucepan, whisk together and bring to a slight boil the honey, coconut oil, and vanilla. Remove from heat. Whisk in the pumpkin, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir the pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, flax seeds, and chopped golden berries together.
  4. Pour the liquid honey mixture over the dry ingredients and stir together. Pour the mixture into the parchment paper-lined metal pan and press down until you have an even thickness.
  5. Bake at 300 F for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, let it cool completely on the counter, and then transfer to the refrigerator for one hour or overnight before moving onto the next step.
  6. To make bars, cut into the bar or square shape you like and store in the refrigerator.
3 Engaging Autumn Activities To Enjoy with Your Family

 

During fall, there are countless activities competing for time. Whether it’s a soccer tournament, the re-birth of homework, yard work or a Friday night football game, we are often pulled in many directions. But what about slowing down and exploring the outdoors? Drop the mobile devices, put down the textbook and experience something new this year.

    Enjoy a fall visit to an apple orchard. Autumn is a great time to visit your local farm. Peak harvest season is in full swing and there are many opportunities to learn about agriculture. Use your local orchard as a chance to explore the many varieties of apples. Take an afternoon and explore the trees from the ground up. Once you get back home, the fun doesn’t have to end. Structure a fun “taste test” activity and discuss the uses for each variety. Let your kids research the different apples you brought home and set-up the challenge to name each one by favor or look. Beyond learning about the uses for apples, your youngsters will take an active interest in your next grocery trip.

      Visit your local composting facility or recycle your fallen leaves and build your very own compost pile. Compost is often referred to as the “gardener’s gold.” Created from collected natural and decomposable materials from the lawn, composting is an excellent way to witness the wonders of the natural world. We spend hours raking and bagging fallen leaves into brown bags for pick-up at the end of the curb, but what happens to those brown bags full of leaves? There are local facilities that process and compost for the well-being of our landfills and earth.Whether you are visiting a farm or enjoying an evening watching the trees lose their leaves, consider using these recreational activities as a chance to learn about the natural world.

        Find your local pumpkin patch to pick your very own jack o’ lantern. There are few traditions as popular as carving a pumpkin, but too often we lose our favorite creation to decomposition on the front porch. This year, instead of picking up your melon from a cardboard bin at the grocery store, try visiting a farm with a pumpkin patch. Do you know how many seeds are inside a pumpkin? Use your trip to the patch as a fun opportunity to explore math. How many pumpkins grow on each plant? How many plants are in one row? Story problems come alive when given a real-life context.


          What are the five most common fall allergies in children?

          Fall has arrived with a violent sneeze. Fall allergies are more common than you might think. Children are in a new school environment, which gives them more to sneeze at. Plus, there are new pollen, stirred up dust mites and accumulated molds that come with the season. Allergies bloom in kids just when you think they're safe. Here are the five most common fall allergies to watch for in your children.

          1. Ragweed. Ragweed is easily the biggest culprit when it comes to fall allergies in children and adults alike. Ragweed pollinates in August and continues for well over a month. The pollen from ragweed can travel long distances, so even if none is nearby, your children can be at risk. If your child suffers from fall allergies, ragweed is the number one suspect.
          2. Mold. Mold can accumulate under piles of wet leaves or in damp areas of the home. Children with allergies spend more time indoors during the fall season. That makes them highly susceptible to mold and other indoor allergens. Tumbling in that pile of leaves as part of autumn outdoor fun could bring on an allergic reaction as well.
          3. Dust Mites. The dust bunnies are back and they're creating havoc with your child's allergies. After spring cleaning, the dust bunnies settle down. Accumulation through the summer months bring them back in the fall. Running the forced air furnace can do it too. Whether your child is at school, or at home, spending more time among the dust bunnies could have dust mite allergies kicking in.
          4. Food Allergies. Back to school means back to school lunches. Children with allergies may forget about those foods they're supposed to avoid when in school. Some kids will even eat foods they know cause a reaction just to fit in with friends. Some may do it absentmindedly too. Be sure to make the lunch staff aware of your child's food allergies.
          5. Trees. There are certain trees that pollinate in the fall. One of these is a type of sumac tree. You will see big bunches of pollen literally dripping from it's branches in the autumn months. When that pollen drops and spreads itself around, be sure to have plenty of children's allergy medicine in stock.

          In a small initial study conducted by PhD researchers and doctors of Finland's University of Turku, child and pet comingling increases the likelihood of animal gut bacteria transfer, which will then help increase the immunity of the child against different types of allergens, including pet dander. Pet dander is considered as one of the most common triggers of allergy diseases. It contains a protein from the dried saliva of dogs and cats that causes the immune system to overreact that can result to the appearance of allergy symptoms.

          For the study, Dr. Merja Nermes, one of the authors, and her colleagues wanted to determine the extent of the effects of pet exposure to a child's immune system using an ongoing probiotic study participated by pregnant women who have allergy history. Allergies are assumed to have a genetic predisposition. Children who are born to parents who have allergies are at least 50% likely to develop the condition as well.

          Among the pool of participants, they selected 51 women with infants and pets and 64 who have babies but no pets to serve as the control group.

          The babies in both groups underwent two types of tests at different times. When they were one month, their DNA was tested for presence of the animal gut bacteria, specifically B. pseudolongnum and B thermophium, using the fecal sample from diapers. When analyzed, 33% of the first group had tested positive of the bacteria while around 14% of the control group had them, although it's unclear how they had obtained the bacteria.

          When they turned half year, the researchers conducted a skin prick test to find out which allergies the babies are prone to. More than 15 of the babies had allergic reactions, but for those with B. thermophilum, they didn't have any.

          Although the study doesn't say if the protection extends until way later in life, it's clear that parents should not stop themselves having pets at home while the child is still a baby.

          In an another earlier study, farm dust can help control or prevent allergy symptoms and asthma as the protein present in it can make the mucus in the lungs to become less sensitive to allergens.  

          Pollen Report: Wet and warm weather spurs fall allergies

          August ushers into the Northeast its share of sneezes, wheezes and itchy eyes. Informal polls suggest things are worse this year. Empirical confirmation was provided last week by Dr. Edward Kent of South Burlington-based Timberlane Allergy and Asthma Research. In direct proportion to much of our suffering, Kent said, ragweed has flourished: Billions of its tiny pollen grains took to the wind two weeks ago — about a week earlier than usual. That premature abundance has "primed" the allergic response of vulnerable folk, making them increasingly sensitive to subsequent exposure, he said.


          Moderate pollen levels, then, have boosted the indices of discomfort. Kent monitors airborne irritants and treats patients whose immune and respiratory systems rage into misguided overdrive at the slightest whiff of pollen, mold spores, dust mites, pet dander and the like. His lab's mold-spore and pollen counts routinely inform local weather reports and forecasts. Because the chief suspects are microscopic, Kent suggested a look at them through a microscope.

          Lynne Moon, the clinical research supervisor at Timber Lane Allergy, introduced visitors to her latest batch of aerialists, captured and immobilized on needle-thin, silicone greased plastic rods. A mold spore (Alternaria) resembled a snowshoe track in pink-dyed snow. A cluster of six, globe-like plantain pollen grains decked the microscope slide like baby fruit. A snowshoe-shaped fungus spore (Alternaria) is visible under a microscope at Timberlane Allergy and Asthma Research in South Burlington. The common, airborne spore is among many that can trigger allergic reactions.

          Ragweed pollen, too, proved beautiful: pitted, spiky balls — like an asteroid-slammed planet. Moon's counting procedure takes hours. At the end of a thrice-weekly session, she first translates her census into particles-per-square-meter of air; then into a nationally recognized, reader-friendly pollen index.

          Rain tends to dampen airborne pollen counts, she said, but can nourish subsequent spikes in flowering. High pollen counts earlier this year — first from trees and then from early to midsummer grasses — seem to have cascaded into fall weeds' final, reproductive hurrah before frost.

          Local trees' "flowering pulse" this year almost certainly stemmed from the stresses of 2012's hot, dry summer, and not the current year's weather, University of Vermont professor of plant biology David Barrington wrote in an email to the Burlington Free Press. The profusion of grass pollen has a more recent genesis, theorizes UVM Extension professor Sid Bosworth, whose fields of expertise include pasture, forage and weed management.

          Weather conditions prevented timely mowing, he added. "With all the rain in June, we had a lot more land that was cut late this year; therefore, much more heading (flowering) and likely more pollen production," Bosworth wrote in response to an email query. "The rain may have also delayed mowing road sides as well allowing more plants to flower than normal."

          This year's early bumper crops of pollen have multiplied the misery for humans unprepared (or untreated) for ragweed's August appearance, said Kent of Timberlane Allergy. "Those people are now more likely to be more reactive" to the region's collective and cumulative cocktail of allergens, he said.

          Kent suggested we all might brace for earlier and extended sneeze seasons, given a warming climate. Fallout from that trend was documented in a study published in January 2011 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which found that allergy seasons in the northern U.S. and Canada had grown by two to four weeks from 1995 to 2009. Ann Hazelrigg, a plant pathologist at UVM, has first-hand evidence. "This is the first year, ever, that I've had fall allergies," Hazelrigg said. "It's been awful."


          *Read the original article on www.burlingtonfreeexpress.com.

          Pack The Ultimate Carry On Hand Luggage

          Packing for any international trip can be a daunting task, especially if you're not well-traveled. Before getting on the plane, you have to decide what should be checked in and what’s needed for a comfortable flight. First up, always pack the night before if you're leaving in the morning to avoid throwing everything in in a rush. Before you even open your wardrobe, stop, sit down and re-visit your itinerary so you can plan to pack only what you really need. Keep in mind your destination and it’s climate and look up the weather forecast so you can pack appropriately.

          1. Travel documents. Needless to say, it is absolutely important to put your travel documents such as boarding pass, passport, visa (if needed) and other supporting documents in your carry-on bag so you can whip them out when the need arises.
          2. Money, money, money. It’s a must to exchange to the local currency at the airport, in case you have to pay for something at the start of your trip.
          3. Handphone, laptop and chargers. If you’re bringing a laptop, do keep it in your carry-on. In the case where your luggage decides to take a detour without you, you still have some connection to the world. Also, your electronics can possibly be your in-flight entertainments!
          4. Toiletries. Toiletries are usually heavy and cumbersome, so pack smartly when it comes to these vital items. Purchase some travel-sized toiletries (most mainstream brands offer minis these days) or decant your favorite essential liquids into smaller containers, which are readily available to buy from most pharmacies. Don't forget to pack Rootology: Breathe Free to prevent an in-flight runny nose or sniffles.
          5. Set of clothes. In the event that your check-in luggage goes missing, you should also bring undergarments and a set of t-shirt and pants. Take it as insurance!
          6. First-aid kit. Bring a handy dandy first-aid kit with some medicine (more specifically, travel sickness tablets) for that unpredictable and extremely unnecessary headache, nausea, queasiness, tummy pains, flu and injuries!
          A Healthy Twist on the Classic Gumdrop

          As mothers, we all eventually get caught trying to sneak healthy ingredients into our children’s meals, snacks, drinks—you name it. Thanks to PediaSure SideKicks Fruit & Veggie Smoothie Mix, we have the perfect way to sneak in a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals where my kids would least expect it: in a sweet and fruity homemade gumdrop. What child would ever be able to sniff out the hidden goodness in a piece of sticky, chewy, sweet, sugar coated candy? Let’s just say that these gumdrops are the Trojan horse of all candies.

          Cook these little jewels up (the recipe makes around 100), pass them out to your littles when they come searching for a sweet treat throughout the day, and enjoy an evil laugh in your head as they gobble up an unsuspected heap of hidden nutrition.

          Ingredients

          • 2 cups watermelon juice, divided 3 tablespoons (4 packages)
          • Granulated gelatin
          • 3 cups sugar
          • 2 scoops PediaSure SideKicks Fruit & Veggie Smoothie Mix
          • Extra sugar, for coating

          Directions

          1. Line an 8×8 baking dish or pan with plastic wrap. Spray the plastic wrap with non-stick spray and set aside. Place ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons of watermelon juice in a bowl. Slowly sprinkle the granulated gelatin over the top of the juice.
          2. Let sit for five minutes to allow the gelatin to soak up all of the watermelon juice.In a large saucepan, mix together the remaining watermelon juice with the sugar. Heat on medium/high until mixture comes to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. As soon as the mixture boils, reduce heat to medium.
          3. Let simmer for 25 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Take care to watch the heat and make sure that the mixture does not boil over because it has a tendency to froth up quickly if the heat is too high. After 25 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and let sit for 1 minute.
          4. Sprinkle the PediaSure Smoothie Mix over the mixture and whisk together until smoothie mix is dissolved and no lumps remain. Pour the mixture into the plastic wrap lined baking pan.
          5. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight so that the gum drops can firm up.
          6. Coat your work surface with sugar and invert the sheet of gum drops onto the sugar. Coat the top of the gumdrop sheet with sugar as well. Slice the sheet into ½” strips with a sharp knife.
          7. Toss the strips with sugar to coat the sides and then slice strips into ½” pieces to make cubes. Toss cubes in sugar to coat all surfaces. Let air dry for 4-5 hours. Store in an airtight container.
          8. Enjoy your creation!
          Creamy Chocolate Pistachio Chia Shake

          Time to jump on this whole chia seed bandwagon! Despite their minuscule appearance, chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse: They’re packed with omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, calcium, fiber and protein. Plus, these small ingredients are simple to make into a pudding because they absorb up to 10 times their weight in water! Not only does this make chis seeds a great starting point for breakfast, a healthy snack, or textured dessert, but it also means that they will help you stay hydrated. Try making this chia seed pudding recipes via Half Baked Harvest — and don’t be afraid to put your own spin on them, too.

          Chia seeds are harvested from the Salvia hispanica plant, a type of sage in the mint family. The seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and have versatile uses in the kitchen. Chia seeds were a staple of the ancient Aztec diet, and they are now grown commercially in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Mexico. Australia is the biggest producer of chia seeds, which is now marketed under various names. Even the oil extracted from chia seeds are found to have a high nutritional value. Both, seeds and oils are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antoxidants and amino acids.Chia seeds may be eaten raw or prepared in a number of dishes. Raw, they are an excellent source of dietary fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds may be ground into pinole, a meal that can be used for porridge or baked goods. They may also be soaked in fruit juice or water to make a dish known as chia fresca in Mexico.

          Chia seeds are very absorbent and develop a gelatinous texture when soaked in water. In recent decades, chia has seen a resurgence in popularity and has been hailed as a “super food” with many dietary benefits. It helps the body retain fluids and electrolytes, it forms a gel in the stomach that slows the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar, and it helps build muscle and other tissues. Chia is a source of protein and boron, which aids in the absorption of calcium. Chia seeds can be used to make a gel that one can substitute for oil or other fats in a variety of recipes. Chia gel can be added to any sauces, jellies, or baked goods, for example.

          Ingredients

          • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, plus more to thin if desired
          • 2 tablespoons black chia seeds
          • 3 whole medjool dates, pitted
          • 1/3 cup roasted + shelled pistachios, plus more for topping
          • 3 frozen medium + very ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
          • 2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
          • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt or use coconut milk yogurt for a vegan option
          • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

          Instructions

          1. In a small bowl mix together the milk and chia seeds. Let this sit for 10-15 minutes.
          2. Meanwhile add the pistachios and dates to the bowl of a food processor or high powered blender. Blend until the mixture becomes finely chopped and almost butter like, scraping down the side as you go. You want to get it as smooth as possible. I let the mixture blend for about 5 minutes.
          3. To the blender add the chia seeds + milk mixture, the frozen banana chunks, cocoa powder, greek yogurt and vanilla extract. Blend until thick, creamy, and smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the blender as needed. If the shake is too thick add more milk to your liking.
          Fight Fall Allergies Before They Start

          You heard all about the worst allergy season ever. You know the pollen tsunami swept through and left everyone sneezing and wheezing in its wake. But you want to know why the end of summer is almost here and you’re still miserable. As summer winds down, it’s a good time to start fighting your fall allergies before they hit. As CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez explained, ragweed is the culprit. The frilly green plants growing by the side of the road with the golden array of flowers on top are about to explode and release trillions of misery producing pollen grains into the air.

          “It’s sneezing, runny nose, soar throat, itchiness everywhere. There have actually been times where I have been bed bound if I didn’t have medication,” Dani Dumitriu said. The American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology said if you suffer from ragweed allergies like Dani, now is the critical time to start considering relief even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms yet.

          “People wait too long and they wait until they are very symptomatic, and they start taking medicines, but you are kind of behind the eight ball,” Dr. Beth Corn, Mount Sinai Hospital said. Ragweed season typically starts in August and lasts into September or October. Experts said most people who are allergic to spring plants often react to ragweed. “It turns out with global warming and just climate changes, the allergy season is now longer,” Dr. Corn said. “I actually think they have controlled my symptoms. There is just no point in suffering,” She said.

          “Although spring, summer and fall have different sets of allergens to trip up allergy and asthma sufferers, they can cause the same symptoms,” says allergist Janna Tuck, M.D., Fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “Those who have multiple triggers, may not be able to distinguish between what’s causing their symptoms. They just know they’re congested, with red eyes and an itchy nose.”

          Ragweed is the biggest allergy trigger in the fall. It usually starts releasing pollen with cool nights and warm days in August, and can last into September and October. And the majority of people who are allergic to spring plants are also allergic to ragweed. “The most important reminder is to start taking fall allergy [relief] two weeks or so before symptoms usually begin,” says Dr. Tuck. “Both nasal and eye symptoms associated with ragweed allergies can linger after pollen is no longer in the air.”

          What else can you do about fall allergy symptoms? The first line of defense is to avoid triggers. After spending time outdoors, shower, change and wash your clothes. Keep windows closed can help reduce exposure, and changing your clothes and rinsing off when you come inside can help get rid of pollen. If you do go outside, wear a hat and sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes.

          For more information and to find relief, visit AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org.

          Homemade Strawberry Nutri Grain Bars

          Ready for back to school? It's that time of the year! Whole wheat flour, oats, a dash of Greek yogurt, honey, and fresh strawberries make this breakfast bar staple healthier than the storebought version. This homemade strawberry nutri grain bar might be just the morning meal you are searching for. One portion of this dish contains approximately 4g of protein, 13g of fat, and a total of 252 calories. If you have baking soda, cornstarch, honey, and a few other ingredients on hand, you can make it. From preparation to the plate, this recipe takes about 1 hour. It is a good option if you're following a vegetarian diet. 

          Ingredients for Strawberry Filling

          • 1 pint fresh strawberries, stems removed
          • 1/4 -1/3 cup sugar (this depends on how sweet you want the filling, I used a 1/4 cup)
          • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
          • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
          • 1 tablespoon water

          Ingredients for Dough

          • 1 cup white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
          • 3/4 cup oats
          • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
          • 1/4 teaspoon corn starch
          • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
          • 1/8 teaspoon salt
          • 6 tablespoon coconut oil, at room temperature (may sub butter)
          • 2 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
          • 2 tablespoons honey
          • 2 egg yolks
          • 1 teaspoon vanilla

          Directions

          1. To make the strawberry filling, in a food processor or blender puree the strawberries until mostly smooth. Leave a few chunks if you wish. Add the strawberry puree, sugar and lemon juice to a medium size pot. Place on the stove and bring to a boil. Whisk the cornstarch with the cold water and then add to the pot. Bring to a simmer and simmer 4-5 minutes until slightly thick, but still jelly like. Remove and set aside to cool and thicken more.
          2. While the filling cools make the dough. In a small bowl mix the whole wheat flour, oatmeal, baking soda, cornstarch, salt and cinnamon together. Set aside.
          3. Cream the coconut oil, greek yogurt and honey together in the bowl of a stand mixer or other large mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients and beat until combined. The dough should come together, but be wet.
          4. Line a work surface with wax paper and lightly flour the wax paper. Divide the dough in half, cover one ball and place the other on the wax paper.
          5. Lightly sprinkle the dough ball with flour and then place another sheet of wax paper on top. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle. Using a pizza wheel, pastry cutter or sharp knife cut out as many 4x4.5 inch squares as possible. I was able to get 2 squares and then re-roll the dough an get 2 more.
          6. Down the center of each square, spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the strawberry filling right down the center, but leaving about 1/4 inch on either end clean. Fold one side up and over the filling and then pinch the dough together at either end. Do the same for the other side. Carefully roll the bar over and place the seam side down on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough and squares.
          7. Once all the dough has been used and you have 8 or so bars on the baking sheet, cover and place the baking sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes.
          8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. while the bars freeze.
          9. Once the oven is preheated and the bars have been in the freezer for 15 minutes place the baking sheet on the middle rack in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top.
          10. Allow to cool 5 minutes and then carefully, transfer the warm bars to a plastic container with a lid or large zip-top bag. If you need to stack the bars, place a piece of parchment between the layers.
          11. Seal the container or bag tightly. This will trap in heat and moisture and slightly steam the bars, ensuring they remain soft. Store in airtight container for up to 3 days or in the fridge for longer.
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          • Page 1 of 20